War, A Rock Opera – Now Available For Free Download

After watching the brilliant Israeli rock opera ‘War’ on stage, and blogging about it, I have been corresponding by email with musician Kobi Vitman who created it based on his experiences in 2002 as a reserve infantry soldier during Operation Defensive Shield, and the PTSD that followed. A couple of months ago, when the original cast recording was issued, I tried to convey to Vitman my own experiences as a listener and a fan of the genre, emphasizing the difficulty in trying to track down these musical gems once the curtain closes on the original show. In accordance with my beliefs about file sharing, copyright laws and my own experiences searching for recordings of Israeli musicals, I tried to push for making the entire album available online.

Well, I am so very happy to announce that as of this week, the album is indeed available online and for free. You can still purchase the physical CD, booklet and all, for 40NIS, but if you just want the MP3 files, they are now legally available on WarRockOpera.com. You can still watch the show live in its acoustic version. Check the website for details.


How To Feel At Home When You Have To Work on a Public Computer

Whether you use one computer at work and another at home, or you share computers at the office, or whether sometimes you are just left stranded on a foreign computer away from civilization on some godforsaken floor in corporate land – then this post is for you. Following is my collection of portable apps and online services that will make you feel cozy on any PC.

Browser: Even for a couple of hours, browsing the net with Internet Explorer is unbearable and unsafe.
Solution: Portable Google Chrome – preferably in incognito mode.
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Passwords: Typing your password on a public computer might not be wise. Also, if you remember your passwords, chances are you use the same one for everything and haven’t changed it in years.
Solution: RoboForm2Go memorizes your passwords and logs you in automatically.
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Email, Instant Messaging, Social Networking: Why would anyone run separate programs simultaneously for each service: Outlook + Gmail Notifier + MSN Messenger + ICQ? Are you kidding me?
Solution: Portable Digsby.
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RSS Reader: Google Reader might be the easy choice, but those who cherish their privacy might go for a portable app that stores their RSS feeds locally.
Solution: GreatNews.
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Health: Especially when you are away from your native office space you should be mindful of Repetitive Strain Injury.
Solution: Workrave Portable alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and do preventive exercises.
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Focus: Away from your desk you might hesitate to shush people you just met so that you can get some work done.
Solution: SimplyNoise.com produces white noise to neutralize office noises and block distractions.
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Note: Some of these apps were mentioned in previous posts titled ‘Freewares I Swear By But You Have Never Heard Of’ (#1, #2), but I felt a post specifically aimed for the workplace was in order.

Design for Obama: The TASCHEN Book – Follow-up #3

November is just around the corner and I am anxiously waiting to get my hands on Design for Obama, the book I participated in. Luckily, the publisher, Taschen, just made the entire book available online. You can leaf through all the pages, albeit the viewing quality is just enough to make you interested in buying the book.

Here are page 94-95 featuring my “Yes, Oui, Ken” original design:
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And here it is as a thumbnail in the index on page 176:
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You can still download the original graphics for free here.

Hat tip to @maristellag.

Israel’s Internet Society Asks Members to Send Suggestions by Fax

Every now and then I stumble upon an idea that is just too Israeli to write about in English. In these rare instances I guest blog on Room 404 in Hebrew. That is what happened yesterday, when I got a snail mail from the Israeli Internet Society in preparation for the annual conference, asking me and other members to send ideas by fax. Send by fax? I thought that was strange and worth mentioning. And so I did.

Apparently someone at Israel’s Channel 10 also thought it was worth mentioning, as they contacted me today to confirm the accuracy of my post. A couple of hours later it was broadcast on Hayom Shehaya, their nightly news program with Guy Zohar: